Bits and Pieces
An Unplanned Way to Promote Flight Safety!
By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159
This will ruin any pilot's day.
For the October issue, I had planned to continue the focus on flight safety and was wondering where to find inspiration for the content of this newsletter. I have to say that the source was unexpected. In fact, the next few months will focus on my own accident that resulted in a major rebuild of my RV-9A. I said last month, "The more we can do to improve our own judgment and flying skills, the better our Canadian homebuilt accident record will become. So maybe improving our skills and judgment by flying often and flying with other pilots is a key to improving our safety record." I have yet to come to terms with the exact causes of the accident, but I have certain thoughts that are beginning to consolidate. I certainly will not have the opportunity to fly often in the next year!
Considering how to present this content resulted in coming to terms with the idea that I may not be the best pilot in the world and that there are multiple lessons to be learned from my accident - some with the aircraft and some to do with decision making and basic skills.
To summarize, I wanted to check out the condition of the grass strip at Stanstead-Weller airport (CTQ2) on the Friday prior to a weekend fly-in there. I managed to flip over my RV-9A on landing, effectively destroying the empennage, canopy, nose gear, and engine mount, and requiring a major rebuild including propeller, engine, and fuselage. It's taken me a couple of weeks to come to terms with the idea that there is a massive amount of useful learning to be gleaned from this, both in the sense of being able to improve the aircraft and its capabilities but also my piloting skills and decision making.
In the coming months I will try to focus on discreet aspects of the rebuild, beginning with this month's item on the propeller.
Further to the overall safety mission, Bill Evans, EAA Chapter 266 president, sent us his re-creation of an article he'd read in a gliding magazine. It's a spreadsheet intended to get us thinking along the lines of our comfort level with each aspect of flight, and it's an excellent idea. It provides the format for us to reveal what we may have suspected - there are areas of unease in our flying practices that we might avoid when it would be better to confront them head on and work on improving them.
Perhaps if I'd started working on Bill's spreadsheet before I left for Stanstead, I might have noted a lack of comfort level relating to landing an RV-9A on grass. I certainly learned a lot by watching multiple videos of other "A" models of Van's aircraft flipping over. From what I learned, anyone with a tricycle-gear RV should seriously consider all of the products available from AntiSplatAero, and especially the new wheel bearing.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this issue, and as always, don't hesitate to provide feedback, criticism, or even content if you feel up to it. All it takes is a conviction that you have something to tell people regarding any aspect of flying.